I apologize in advance for the length of this post. Itís been about 2 years in the making.
I am a long time poker player. I donít claim to be a great poker player, but I hold my own and have shown a profit over the long term, both live and online. Iím not a professional player, but a solid rec player who plays to make some extra cash. I play in the order of 1000 hands a day (RUSH primarily), not extreme by online standards, but enough that over the course of a year results are telling. I understand the volatility of the game and donít complain about short term downswings or any particular bad beats.
I have however noticed a long term trend in my results playing online. My actual results consistently trend below my theoretical all-in EV. I noticed the trend well over a year ago. It was so consistent that I assumed PT must be calculating something wrong, so I put together a spreadsheet to calculate it out myself. For the past year Iíve entered every all-in hand Iíve played into this spreadsheet. Yes, over 2000 hands over the course of the year. The numbers matched up pretty much exactly with PTís numbers.
Long term you should be at your all-in EV. Whether youíre getting your money in good or bad, once the money goes in you have some equity in the pot and the flip of the remaining cards decides how much of that equity you realize in actual profit or loss. Over the long term your actual results should reflect your all-in EV. If you are above your all-in EV youíve been getting a good run of cards, if you are below your all-in EV youíve been getting a bad run of cards.
For the past year I'm up 2674BB, with an all-in EV of 5857BB, leaving me 3183BB below my all-in EV. These results are similar to my results going back 2 years (I just donít have the exact numbers for the previous year).
Over the year Iím hovering around a win rate of just under 1BB/100 hands played. Not great by any means, but positive, then add in rakeback and bonuses and itís a worthwhile hobby. During that same time my all-in EV line is a little over 2BB/100.
Looking at it another way:
- All-in as a big favorite (>80% equity): 702 wins, 67 loses, win rate of 91%
- All-in as a moderate favorite (between 60 and 80% equity): 262 wins, 94 loses, win rate of 74%
- All-in in a flip situation (between 40 and 60% equity): 141 wins, 181 loses, win rate of 44%
- All-in as a moderate dog (between 20 and 40% equity): 52 wins, 272 loses, win rate of 16%
- All-in as a big dog (between 0 and 20% equity): 25 wins, 464 loses, win rate of 5%
If I get my money in good, my win rate seems reasonable. If I get my money in bad, its pretty much gone. And flips just seem to lean the wrong way. Over the long run this is obviously tough on the bottom line and psychology.
I have one other buddy who plays (or played) a fair bit online. He is also a long term winning player at the tables. He noticed the same effect to the point he gave up playing online.
I am curious if other long term winning players have noticed the same effect? Some poor sucker has to be to the far left of the standard deviation curve, maybe thatís just me for the past couple years. But if this is something that others are seeing as well I think maybe its time to focus on the live games. Iíve been living on blind faith that the games are legit, but seriously, how long can a guy play by simply hoping that eventually the deck wonít be stacked against you.